Hens making nests in our shed!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ragschickens, Sep 9, 2016.

  1. ragschickens

    ragschickens Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 12, 2016
    I have three hens and a duck, all about 4 months old. They have great nest boxes filled with straw in their coop. I have noticed two combs turning a darker red, but no squatting. Today I went to our shed to get new straw when cleaning out the coop. They had pulled apart bails of straw and there were three huge nests! Not sure who is responsible, I have never seen them near the shed. Our chickens free range on 5 acres, though they usually stay pretty close. Now I'm worried they are going to start laying somewhere other than the coop and I'll never find the eggs. Should I try to move the massive nests into the coop? Would a duck make multiple nests or are the chickens likely responsible too?
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    3 huge nests with eggs in them....or 3 holes dug into the destroyed bales??
    Could definitely be 'nesting behavior'.
    First, I'd close the door to the shed so they can't get in there.

    I would advise you to confine the birds to coop and run and put some fake egg/golf balls in the coop nests.
    Not sure about ducks, but sounds like your pullets may be getting close depending on breed.
    Sexlinks and other high production breeds can start laying as early as 16 weeks, other breeds average 18-26 weeks, some breeds take even longer.

    Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for 3-4 days (or longer) can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop 24/7 for a few days to a week, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2016
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by